This year’s Nanowrimo is officially upon us. Now who here thinks they don’t have any time for it?
*Shamefully raises hand*
Why November always seems like the busiest month of the year, I’ll never know. It feels like I never have any time. Of course, as a soon to be published author, every month of the year is national novel writing month for me. But there’s something about trying to write 50,000 words in thirty days that makes me want to breathe into a paper bag.
Nevertheless, I will attempt the endeavor, as always. Despite the month and its craziness and the added stress of obtaining this goal, I always enjoy nanowrimo. The reasons for this are three-fold:
Reason #1 – The Writing Community of Nano
Every November writers come out of the woodwork, especially in Baton Rouge. We have a great little nanowrimo community that meet at a CC’s for weekend write-ins. It’s always a blast to connect with people that I haven’t seen for a year to check in on their lives and their own writing journey. Some simply do it for fun, while others take it a bit more seriously and continue their nano project past November to editing stages and maybe even publishing.
One of my favorite things about Nano are the weekend write-ins. Sitting in a coffee shop with a group of fellow writers slurping a frappe is actually one of my favorite things ever. There’s something about 5-10 laptops pushed together, keyboards clacking away, and the smell of coffee all blending into a creative atmosphere that makes me pumped and focused. Especially during a Word War, where we all write as fast as we can to get the most words on a page during a limited amount of time. I typically don’t win, but it’s fun anyway.
Not only is the writing community of nano great in town, it also thrives online. Using an online forum to chat with other nano competitors builds a sense of unity and dedication, as well as using the online word tracker to create accountability. That little word tracker is a blessing as well as a curse. It’s frustrating to find the tracker dip under your word count goal for that day, but it holds you accountable. Which brings me to my next reason…
Reason #2 – Good Habits
The biggest thing that Nanowrimo teaches us is the importance of writing every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s one page or fifty—working on your writing daily is an amazing habit to develop. It’s also a pretty critical one, especially if you have a day job or a demanding family or even an active social life. Finding moments in between all those things to dedicate to your craft is incredibly important.
Finding those moments is the tricky part. This is why I love the hashtag, #5amwritersclub. Getting up at 5am every morning to write with other bleary-eyed writers on twitter helps me get out of bed and work on my project regardless if I’m not feeling inspired that day. If I make the effort to wake up that stupid early to write, you can bet your butt I’m going to actually be writing. Even if the words that come out of my groggy state are heinous (which they are a lot of the time), that can be fixed in editing.
And since you’re struggling to get those words on the page to reach your word count goal, you don’t have time to go back and edit previous work. You focus on the project at hand and tolerate less distracting thoughts like, “I hated the section I wrote yesterday,” or “Great, this new plot point doesn’t make sense with my beginning…” You learn to shut out those thoughts and concentrate on moving forward and not going backward.
Reason #3 – The Project Itself
Yes, the writing itself. Who can forget the whole reason you’re losing sleep and downing cup after cup of coffee? It’s all so you can put your new novel out into the world. (Side note: I love their slogan, “The world needs your novel.” So cute!)
For me, I know my novel is always going to be more than 50,000 words. In fact, no matter how hard I try my book always ends up being anywhere from 75K – 90K. Even for a Middle Grade! Which is not fun for revising. But the point is that 50K puts me a long way into my project. Even if I don’t make it, managing 35K or 40K, it still gets a huge chunk done. I’m right in the middle of the novel and that’s a victory in itself, especially when even starting the manuscript can be the most difficult part.
Following November, I have the second half of the book to finish instead of the whole thing. All to say, I get almost a whole book done in a month and I’m left with the feeling of accomplishment. To a writer, that’s everything.